Stan Mott was an American cartoonist, known for his cartoons depicting crazy vehicles, most notably the Cyclops II mini-car. His work appeared in National Lampoon, Road & Track and several other automotive magazines. Apart from drawing eccentric cars, trucks, trains and boats, Mott loved building, driving or sailing them. Between 1961 and 1964, he infamously quit his job to make a world trip by go-kart - a bet over a cup of coffee that got him a spot in the Guinness Book of Records. Late in life, he also drew a graphic novel, 'The Absolute Alliance' (2014). 

Early life and career
Stanley Frederick Mott was born in 1933 in Flint, Michigan. A car enthusiast since his childhood, he already part-owned a roadster at age twelve and participated in races at age fifteen. Around the same time, he had first cartoons published. In 1953, Mott spent one semester at Art Center School, after which he held a number of odd jobs, before ending up as a car designer at General Motors. There, he was for instance involved in the fin designs of the 1958 Chevrolet Impala. In 1957, he sold his first articles and cartoons to Road & Track Magazine, and over the next thirty years worked as writer, illustrator and art director of this automotive magazine, edited by John and Elaine Bond.

'The Cyclops III' (November 1990).

Cyclops II
Mott excelled in designing zany cars, the most famous being the "Cyclops II", described as "the world's cheapest ($14.32) and stupidest (fetal seating positions) car". Over the years, Road & Track dedicated about 22 articles - written and drawn by Mott in collaboration with Robert Cumberford - to the Cyclops, and the cartoonist's 1957 design also spawned a number of real-life replicas. In 2013, Glenn and Matt Thomas of Beavercreek, Ohio built a running replica of Mott's crazy vehicle, and chronicled their experiences in the self-published booklet 'Building a Cyclops'. In August 2021, Glenn Thomas drove his self-built Cyclops during the 2021 Woodward Dream Cruise automotive event in the Detroit, Michigan area.

Les 24 Heures Des Choo Choo by Stan Mott
'Les 24 Heures Des Choo Choo'. 

Further cartooning career
Over the next decades, Stan Mott contributed his car-related cartoons to a variety of magazines in the USA and Europe, including National Lampoon, Automobile Quarterly, Car, Automobile, Car & Driver, L'Automobile (France) and Stern (Germany). In addition to the Cyclops, Mott designed a great many outrageous vehicles, varying from racing tanks and racing steam locomotives to desert aircraft carriers and turbocharged motorcycle oil tankers. He also lent his cartooning services to advertising agencies.

Super Tanker Chopper by Stan Mott
'Super Tanker Chopper'.

Around the world by go-kart
Besides cartooning, Stan Mott lived an adventurous life, including driving a go-kart around the world following a bet over a cup of coffee. In January 1961, a group of overworked cartoonists felt they would never see the world until their retirement. Mott protested: "You can do whatever you want, if you want to badly enough!" As the discussion continued, Mott felt he had to prove his point, and the bet was on. Within no time, he had quit his job, acquired a go-kart from a Long Island manufacturer and built a small plywood trailer to carry his stuff. Between February 1961 to July 1964, he was on his way, crossing 23,300 land miles (approximately 38,000 kilometers) through 29 countries, starting and ending in New York City. Upon his return, Mott's travel chronicle appeared in the November 1964 issue of Argosy Magazine. The adventure earned him a spot in the Guinness Book of Records.

Gokart trip, Hannover, Germany, 1962.
Gokart trip, Hannover, Germany, 1962.

After his travel around the world, Stan Mott and his wife - a fashion designer - spent ten years living in Lausanne, Switzerland, before they decided to hit the seas. In 1975, they purchased a Turkish-built fishing boat hull that had been converted into a roomy 53-foot yacht, on which they lived for the next seventeen years. For ten years, they traveled from east to west in the Mediterranean Sea, then crossed the Atlantic, and cruised north from Venezuela through the Windward Islands to the Virgin Islands and, eventually, Florida. During winters, the Motts did their cartooning and fashion design work in their on-board studio.

'Mott's Spot' (Automobile, February 1996).

Final years and death
By 1993, the Motts sold their yacht and settled in Germany. From there, Stan Mott continued to do cartooning and design work. He for instance had his regular page, 'Mott's Spot', in Automobile magazine. Fascinated with space travel, he designed a cheap, functional, and easy-to-build, in-hull artificial gravity system to keep astronauts healthy during a six-month voyage to Mars, which he described in a Mars Society Paper. He also designed new versions of his Cyclops car, and continued to attend racing shows. Most of his retirement was however spent creating his 76-page graphic novel 'The Absolute Alliance', a tale about hyper-empathy between a man and a woman, and overpopulation. It was published by Msv Publications in October 2014. In later years, he published regularly on Gary D. Smith's Dean's Garage website. After an adventurous and productive life, Stan Mott died on 22 March 2022, at the age of 89.

'The Absolute Alliance' (2014).

Stan Mott on the Dean's Garage website

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